I enjoy reading about ideas that successfully get through the patent office that go nowhere and it's pretty clear why they didn't. Still, you have the admire the persistence of the person who guided their idea through the patent process (not easy at all).
I have trolled the web thanks to the wonder of Google and present a few of the patents I found the most interesting. Please include any in the comments section that you may have tripped across in your own travels.
Text in italics is from the patent filing paperwork.
Interactive Life-Sized Bowl of Soup (US 6168531) I believe this was intended to be a carnival ride/attraction of sorts. The large bowl includes, "a fog layer at the top of the bowl-shaped
member; and an imaging device producing an image," according to the 1999
patent. The soup attraction is designed to fill small children with
excitement and delight as they inch near a seemingly full pot of boiling
Wind-Harnessing Bike (US 6932368) I could almost see how this might lead to something that might actual be useful. "no one prior to applicant has succeeded to devising apparatus including
a sail attachment connectable to a bicycle for harnessing wind to drive
a bicycle forward in a controlled manner."
Kissing Shield (US5727565) Well, I suppose it could happen but it's not very romantic. Enter the kissing shield, which if handled properly, "will help people
who want to do whatever they can while kissing to practice 'preventive
High-Five Machine (US 5356330) A solution in search of a problem. "allows a user to simulate a 'high-five' in celebration of a positive
event, thereby providing the user with a convenient outlet for the
release of excitement."
Motorized ice cream cone (US05971829) Another solution in search of a problem. "...for imparting rotation
upon the cup and rotationally feeding its contents against a person's
Combined earthquake sensor and nightlight (US04978948) I could see how having both could be handy in an earthquake - if you have power. "having a base with a bottom portion resting on a support subject to vibrations."
EXERCISING DEVICE Patent No. 1,466,559 This one is from 1923 so maybe you just had to be there. From the foregoing it is apparent that the present invention
provides means by which the teeth, gums and other organs of the mouth
are subjected to sufficient exercise to set up a free circulation
therein and maintain a healthy state thereof.
FETAL SPEAKER SYSTEM AND SUPPORT BELT FOR MATERNAL WEAR (Patent No. 5,109,421) Basically an iPod for the fetus. But hey, maybe they get bored in there and some tunes would be nice.A fetal speaker system and support belt of the present invention
includes a belt-like housing, a pair of low-volume speakers mounted
spaced apart, and a casing with a resilient padding material therein.
The belt fastens about the abdomen and adjusts accordingly to the
growing belly. A radio or other audio transmitting device is maintained
in position by a sturdy sleeve on the side of the belt...
A fart collecting device: UK Patent Application No. GB2289222 Why leave the folks from the other side of the pond out? It comprises a
gas-tight collecting tube 10 for insertion into
the rectum of the subject. The tube 10 is
connected to a gas-tight collecting bag (not
shown). The end of the tube inserted into the
subject is apertured and covered with a gauze
filter and a gas permeable bladder 28.
Perhaps you should get to work on your own idea before someone else beats you to the punch!